Rod Barton

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No More Icons
Gabriele Beveridge, Matthew Darbyshire & Jacob Farrell, Peles Empire, Rowena Harris, Giles Round
5th April - 27th June, 2012


Images / Press Release

Gone are the days of icons. Once religious objects housed in churches, now icons are people who we celebrate in magazines and on screens. Anyone can be an icon just as long as they are accessible. They have to really mean something. Yet the closest we usually get to icons is in two-dimensional form: flattened, stylized and reproduced, these images become iconic through looking a certain way. The icon is no longer extraordinary. Being iconic is just a style.

Rod Barton is pleased to present No More Icons, an exhibition of recent sculpture and installation at Blackfriars Hoarding. Located alongside Blackfriars Bridge, the space is only viewable through a series of windows. Participating artists will each use a window to exhibit newly commissioned work, as the window gallery is revised in relation to the contemporary icon. Mainly experienced through media imagery, the icon is a figure who appears to be tangible but is ultimately out of reach. Channelling this shift from the three-dimensional to the two-dimensional, here space appears compressed: works are visible yet inaccessible, presented in the consideration that they will only be seen from the front. In correspondence to the increasingly expanded definitions of sculpture and installation, each work employs different mechanisms in exposing the gap between surface and representation. Exploring what it is to be iconic, recognisable objects are either reused or reproduced as the manipulation of image-making is revealed.

Presenting a collaborative work for No More Icons, Jacob Farrell and Matthew Darbyshire have taken the advertising of new, urban developments as a departure point. Exhibited using not the window, but the front of the hoarding Untitled Photogram No. 4 (2012) plays on similarities of format and location. Generic promises of tailor-made furnishings are exposed as contradictory: here imagery appears warped, with each component intertwined. In highlighting the differences between how something is portrayed and what it actually is, the homogenisation of marketing and design strategies is simultaneously revealed.

Revisiting recent histories of art, design and architecture, Giles Round’s works of sculpture and installation reference Modernist and Minimalist art and design. Encryption is central to Round’s practice in exploring a synthesis between material and content. Often designing his own typographic schemes, The inventions of language (2012) sees the artist further consider the interdependency of utility and decoration. Definitive readings are evaded by the abstract tiling font and instead there is a translation of physical space, as the viewers’ gaze is turned onto themselves and the surrounding environment.

Peles Empire is a collaborative work by Katharina Stoever and Barbara Wolff. The project takes as its source material the Romanian castle Peles, which built between 1893 and 1913, imitates a clash of architectural styles. Since the project’s conception in Frankfurt in 2005, Stoever and Wolff have reproduced ten rooms of the castle in their continuing investigation of the copy. For No More Icons they emphasise the Potemkin-esque architecture of the location, referencing the frontages of non-existent villages that Grigory Potemkin ordered to be built in the late 18th Century. Combining different forms of reproduction, hose4 (2012) channels this shift from object to façade. Slippages between the original and the copy are highlighted as the use of the object is transformed.

Composed from found objects and imagery, Gabriele Beveridge’s works of assemblage and collage draw attention to the artifice of image-making. Often described as having a sculptural sensitivity to her materials of choice, these include pages from magazines such as LIFE, spray paint and framing. In a normal world I'd be there (2012) continues with the artist’s consideration of the processes of extrapolation and masking. Reflecting the fetishisation of subject and object, physical distance between the viewer and artwork is at once foreshortened and maintained.

Rowena Harris creates sculptures that adopt the formal language of early Modernism whilst referencing the history of classical sculpture. Even though they bear recognisable stylistic features, her works oscillate between seriousness and irony, made and found, the ambiguity of which disputes the paradigm of the autonomous object. Great New Point (Grande Nuevo Punto), (2012) references the road and traffic systems that encompass the venue. Harris’ interest in fascias and systems of display in both High Art and design cumulate to present sculpture in a parallax of display, as the work is viewed from different vantage points


Gabriele Beveridge, born 1985, lives and works in London. Beveridge completed her MA in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2010 and her BA in Photography at Falmouth College of Arts in 2007. Recent exhibitions include a solo presentation at Art Rotterdam, Inside the Whale, Gallery Fama, Verona (2012);The Rise and Fall of Matter, Collective, supported by David Roberts Arts, London (2011); Dazed and Confused / Whitechapel gallery emerging artist award (2011); Supplement Gallery, London (2011); ResoVision, Frieze Art Fair, London (2010); Slade MA Show, Slade School of Art, London (2010); Kunstvlaai, Amsterdam (2010); TESTBED1, Battersea, London (2010)

Peles Empire is a collaboration by Katharina Stoever and Barbara Wolff. Katharina Stoever, born 1982 in Giessen, Germany, studied at  the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Staedelschule, Frankfurt from 2002-2007 and completed her post-graduate diploma at the Royal Academy Schools, London in 2010. Barbara Wolff, born in Fagaras, Romania, 1980, studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste  Staedelschule, Frankfurt from 2002 – 2005 and graduated with a post-graduate diploma from the Royal Academy Schools, London in 2009. Upcoming exhibitions include Bold Tendencies 6, London, (2012); Minstrel & Chronicle,group show, Hannah Barry Gallery, London (2012); Entrance, Entrace, group show, Temple bar gallery, Dublin (2012). Recent exhibitions include 3D 2D 3D 2D, curated by Peles Empire, with: Shannon Bool, Tomas Downes, Andrew Mealor, Karl Orton, Giles Round at Camberwell Space, London (2011); NOROC, Frieze Projects, London, (2011); Carmen Sylva, Peles Empire at Sierra Metro, Edinburgh (2011); Transformation, Space, Deusche Bank, London (2009); Space Revised, Group show at GAK, Bremen (2009).

Jacob Farrell, born 1987, Maidstone Kent, received a BA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 2009. Recent exhibition include Matthew Darbyshire with Owen Hatherley, Scott King, Rupert Ackyroyd, Jacob Farrell, T-Rooms  Tramway, Glasgow (2012); Coins and Prints, Solo Show, Helen’s Flat, London (2011); Group Show, Elderfield Road Gallery, London (2010); Group Show, Source Atelier d’Art, Encasse-le-Thermes, France (2010); Sculptures - Ben Doherty, Matthew Richardson, Jacob Farrell, Woburn Project Space, London (2009); Bulletin Board, Limoncello, London (2008). Texts include The Crumb, Radio Play in collaboration with Julia Calver for Antipress, Resonance Fm (2010); What Comes Out, Essay Accompanying Matthew Richardson’s Exhibition at Limoncello (2010).

Matthew Darbyshire, born 1977,  Maidstone, Kent, received a BA (hons) in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 2000 and a Post-Graduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools, London in 2005. Recent solo exhibitions include Taro Nasu, Tokyo, Japan (2011); Leeds Met Gallery and Studio, Leeds (2011); Herald St, London (with Scott King) (2011); ELIS, Herald St, London (2010); Frieze Foundation commission, Frieze Art Fair, London (2010); Funhouse, Hayward Project Space, London, UK. Curated by Tom Morton (2009); Furniture Islands, Outpost, Norwich, UK (2009); Nought to Sixty, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Presented as part of the programme, Blades House, Gasworks, London, UK (2008). Recent group exhibitions include Nothing in the World But Youth, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2011); You Are Not Alone, curated by Hilde Teerlinck, Miro Foundation, Barcelona, Spain (2011); The British Art Show, curated by Tom Morton and Lisa Le Feuvre (2011); The Hayward gallery, touring (cat)(2011); Recent British Sculpture, Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2010); The Camo Show, Cardi Black Box, Milan (2010); The British Art Show, curated by Tom Morton and Lisa Le Feuvre (2010); Nottingham Contemporary, touring (cat) (2010); Newspeak, Saatchi Gallery, London (cat)(2010); Herald St, Taro Nasu, Tokyo (2010); Paul McCarthy’s Cap, Peles Empire, London (2010); Altermodern Tate Triennial 2009, Tate Britain, London. Curated by Nicholas Bourriaud (cat)(2009).

Giles Round, born in London 1976, graduated with a BA Fine Art from Middlesex University, 1999 and received an MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art, London in 2002. Recent solo & two person exhibitions include Giles Round & Mandla Reuter, PELES EMPIRE, London; The Studio of Giles Round, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2010; The Form of the Book, SWG3, Glasgow, 2010; Living Structures, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2009;Strange days & nights, ‘Nought to Sixty’, ICA, London, 2008. Selected group exhibitions are The Starry Rubric Set, Wysing Arts Centre, 2012; 2D-3D-2D-3D, curated by PELES EMPIRE, Camberwell Space, London, 2011; April is the cruelest month, breeding, LIDO, St Leonards-on-sea, 2011; Fifteen, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2010; Session_12_Words+Untitled, Four Boxes Gallery, Krabbesholm Højskole, Skive, Denmark, 2010 & Idealismusstudio, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, 2008

Rowena Harris, born in Norfolk 1985, received a BA (hons) Fine Art (First Class) from University College, Falmouth in 2008 and an MFA in Art Practice from Goldsmith’s College, University of London, in 2010. Recent solo exhibitions include Believing in Things, Van Horbourg Gallery, Basel, Switzerland (2011); Sculptures. Schwartz Gallery Project Space, London (2011). Selected group exhibitions include 2012 Punctuating, La Scatola Gallery, London (2012); Sydicate 1, Food face, London (2012); Powerless Structures, Schwartz Gallery, London (2012); Powerless Structures, Schwartz Gallery, London (2012); Face of the Shape, La Scatola Gallery, London (2011); P 90210, Null and Void, London (2011); Title Art Prize, BlankSpace, Manchester (2011); I Pity Inanimate Objects (2011); In Search of Alchemic Times, London (2011); KNOW HOW. Campbell Works, London (2011); Mind Over Matter. Mind, London (2011); SAGS. The Woodmill, London (2011); Site of Flesh and Stone, Istanbul, Turkey (2011); On The Brink, SW1 Gallery, London (2011); New Contemporaries, The ICA, London (2010); New Contemporaries, The A Foundation, Liverpool (2010); To Look is to Labour, Laden Fuer Nichts, Leipzig, Germany (2010); MFA Degree Show, Goldsmith's College, London (2010); Say What, What Way, Shop@34, London (2010); Pause and Eject Part 2, Shoreditch Town Hall, London (2010); Pause and Eject, The Rag Factory, London (2009); 1 of 2; New Paintings, The Apple Tree, London (2009); Off Modern, Corsica Studios, London (2009); Mnemonic, Caxton Contemporary, Whitstable (2008); Fleet, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London (2008)